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Dmitry Tursunov

Ask Dmitry: agony uncle Dmitry Tursunov


Readers of a delicate disposition should click away now. Dmitry Tursunov has been described as ‘The Tolstoy of Tennis’, he has been called the wittiest and most outrageous man on the tour, and he has also been described as ‘complex’. Now, as The Tennis Space’s new agony uncle, the world No 49 is here to help. Well, sort of. The Russian never promised that he would answer your questions with any sensitivity.

Dearest Uncle Dmitry,
We’ve met a couple of times but you probably do not remember me. I have questions for you, questions that have been troubling me for a very long time.  Your column is my only hope. I’m a fanatic tennis fan (not sure there is any other kind) and I really like one player in particular.  Could you give me a guide or tips, something like ‘How to date an ATP player’. Thank you, my dearest uncle.
Best wishes,
There are a couple of ways you can handle this. You can mope and pout or you can follow my proven dating  method – ‘Stalk them and hope they give in’. Many tennis players get a little self-aware and dejected after they lose; this is when they are at their weakest. When the player wins the competition for him is at it’s highest. Just like the housing market – you got to shop when no one is buying and the market is down and out. The guy has lost, and most girls run towards uglier but more “adorable” (successful) player of the day. You have GOT to be a vulture. Jump on the weakest of the pack (the loser). Preferably go for the guy who might have got bageled, or blown off the court that day. They are really hating their life at the moment and will do pretty much anything to get their confidence back up. This is when they are shell-shocked and you can get your hands reeeeally dirty for a few cents on the dollar. But you can’t be too obvious either. Better get rid of that fanatic girl fan aura, you don’t want them to think you are crazy! Remember, they are fragile and easily scared at the moment by more trauma, so no sudden movements.

Of course there is another option. I have nominated myself as an official ATP sommelier of fan girls at the last player meeting. Well, we had to discuss something serious for once there! For a small donation to “Dmitry Tursunov Confidence Restoration Club” we can arrange a couple of dates for you. With me. You know… I can make a few suggestions, correct a few things, and put in a word for you with the other guys. I just like to help people out!

Dear Uncle Dmitry,
I’m a chair umpire who needs help regaining the respect of players after an embarrassing incident. I was recently umpiring a match at a local junior tournament. I’d been feeling dizzy all morning but thought I’d be OK for the match. However, halfway through the 3rd game, I had a really bad dizzy spell and ended up falling out of the chair. I wasn’t hurt but both the players on court wouldn’t stop laughing at me and afterwards they must have told all their friends, because apparently there’s now a rumour going round all the junior players in my neighbourhood that I was drunk during the match. This isn’t true of course, but the kids insist on believing it and spreading the rumour. So I feel really nervous about umping my next junior match because everyone will be whispering behind my back. How can I regain the trust and respect of the young players whose matches I umpire?
Somewhere in London, UK
Well…. You are an umpire… You should default yourself after this, but to be honest I would promote you to ATP-level event just so this can be televised. I would sell tickets to the matches where you umpire and I would enforce a rule where the only way you can get out of the chair is by falling right out of it. I would love to get you on clay. I’d have you check the mark EVERY point!
A few things… Give them warnings and point penaties for laughing. They should be playing a match not enjoying themselves. Damn kids are so uncontrollable these days! In all honesty, however, if you can’t laugh at yourself than it will be a miserable ride. We all do stupid s— so laugh it off. Tell them at the coin toss that they should not ask you to come down to check the marks as you don’t like to fall out of the chairs a whole lot. They’ll get a kick out of it and will give you kudos points. How often do we discuss others?! Undoubtedly, someone is discussing you, me, or Kim Kardashian at the moment so whether you free-base jump out of the chair during matches or not it will not change. Embarrassing? EXTREMELY. Life-changing? Definitely not.
People will always criticize you regardless of your actions so be the way you would want a person respected by you to be.
P.S. Do lay off the gin and tonic, though…

Dear Uncle Dmitry,
My neighbours have taken up tennis recently which is great, but they have started practising very late in the room next door. Last weekend it sounded like Sharapova vs Nadal hammering out a fifth set. What is the etiquette regarding asking them to quieten down during play? Should I politely tell them to keep the noise lower, or should my wife and I bite the bullet and offer to join them in a spot of mixed?
Thanks in advance. Julian
Dude, do you live in a penthouse? How can anyone practice in an apartment? It would seem to me that you are a bit confused by what they are up to over there. In my opinon, which is the only thing you should pay atention to, you should engage your spouse in a similar activity. Try to outhammer your neighbour. A competition with the neighbours should rejuvinate your interest in the game. Offering a round of mixed doubles in these circumstances is certainly risque and very French, but hey, you only live once.

Dear Uncle Dmitry,
I’m a stand-up comedian in my spare time, and I’ve been asked to do a routine at my local club next month. The problem is that I don’t know any good tennis jokes. Please help. Please bear in mind that I’m British, and everyone else at the club is American.
James, Atlanta
The whole game of tennis is a joke. Not men’s of course! Baaaam! No no no, I’m not a chauvinist, just trying to get a reaction. I’d go with the British theme, tradition, England, Wimbledon, and how come there is no damn tea-break between sets. You must be a horrendous comedian if you are taking my advice though. One thing I enjoy, however, is picturing you in agony over the deadline and no-one getting your jokes. Nothing makes me smile more than the misery of others!

Dear Uncle Dmitry,
Recently, whenever I play tennis, I have an uncontrollable urge just to hit the ball straight out of the court, over the back fence. I’ve tried to stop myself, and to rally as normal, but then some other force takes over and I find myself whacking the ball away. What does that mean? What shall I do? I’ve been take aside by the club secretary and told my membership is under review. I know you’re not a psychologist or anything like that but I’ve heard you also have anger issues..
Janice, somewhere in the Midlands (that’s not my real name)

How the freak am I supposed to know what it means?! It means that you are a psycho and should probably check-in into a nuthouse, maybe? Sounds plausible enough…
The key to this is, I think, is… “…whenever i play tennis…” Do you see?… You see where I’m going with this? I think baseball, or boxing might be more up your alley. You know, something more soothing. Try the Twinkie Defense with your club secretary. Works for me with umpires. If you don’t know what I mean, look it up on Wikipedia.

Dear Dmitry,
I’m a 12-year-old boy in France. I want to become a tennis professional like you. What’s your advice? My parents think tennis is stupid and that I should become a lawyer. What do I say to them?
JP, Nice
Tell them that if they don’t let you do what you want to do in life than you will become a lawyer and then sue their asses for everything they’ve got!!! If this doesn’t work, you can also explain to them that if you start playing tennis and you get to be very good at it but not good enough to play professionally you can still go to a very good university in USA on a scholarship. It means you will get education in a good school for free in return for your participation on a tennis team. Whatever you do, though, you should do some kind of sport. It’s good for your health and it gives you some good lessons in life. Our bodies are designed to move, not to sit on our asses in a room. Fight the machine man! Rebel!!!!

To contact Dmitry with your concern or confession, please email mark@thetennisspace.com with your message marked ‘Dear Uncle Dmitry’.